On 14 and 15 June, 2016, elementary school pupils and secondary school students from all over the country competed in the national round of the sixth annual international forestry competition "Young People in European Forests" (YPEF), organised by the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences (FFWS) of the Czech University of Life Sciences (CZU) in Prague. 15 three-member competing teams, which fought their way from local rounds to the regional round, competed in Kostelec nad Černými lesy in both theoretical and practical knowledge about the forest and the European and Czech forestry.

On the first day, in the castle in Kostelec nad Černými lesy the contestants had to deal with a written test consisting of 15 English and 5 Czech questions about the European forestry and presentations in English titled "How we can help forests". During leisure time the contestants and their teams could have a look at sample materials regarding forestry education, photography exhibition, castle tour and showing of films with forestry topics.

The second day was devoted to practical field part of the competition in the Faculty Arboretum in Kostelec. The practical part of the competition included nine check-points focused on botany, dendrology, dendrometry, zoology, logging, forest protection, timber engineering and silviculture. In the pupils’ category (13–15 years) the team from the Grammar School of Jan Valerián Jirsík in České Budějovice, including Michaela Wipplingerová, Tomáš Pikous and Jan Kaisler, won the competition, while the second place was taken by the team from the Grammar School in Česká Lípa and the third place by the team from the Grammar School nad Alejí in Prague. In the students’ category (16–20 years) the team from the Czech Forestry Academy in Trutnov, including Nina Ryšavá, Daniel Janík and Pavel Brabec, won the competition, while the second place was taken by the team from the Grammar School in Chotěboř and the third place by the team from the Grammar School Botičská in Prague. The winning senior team has also become the absolute winner and will represent the Czech Republic in the international finals which will be held in Latvia this year.

FFWS CZU Dean Prof. Marek Turčáni said: "It is admirable how the general quality and knowledge of contestants haven risen even in the case of students from non-forestry schools. In this year’s finals the victory of students from the forestry school (Czech Forestry Academy in Trutnov) was very close. For us as one of two forestry faculties in the Czech Republic it is a guarantee that in the future there will be plenty of good-quality students who will further develop forestry and preserve forests also for future generations."

The FFWS CZU also congratulates the winners and thanks all the contestants and their teachers for creating great atmosphere during both competition days, and also for the fact that they have mastered the rainy weather on the second day of competition. We would like to extend cordial thanks also to Česká lesnická společnost, which is a sponsor of the YPEF competition, and other partner institutions, i.e. the Ministry of Agriculture, Lesy ČR s.p., Vojenské lesy a statky ČR s. p., PEFC, the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology at Mendel University in Brno, Secondary Forestry School in Hranice, Czech Forestry Academy in Trutnov, Forestry Schools in Písek, Secondary Forestry School in Žlutice and the Forest Management Institute in Brandýs nad Labem.

The aim of the YPEF competition, whose tradition dates back to Polish foresters, is to enhance awareness especially among young people, but also the whole society about the importance of forests and place an emphasis on the significance of forestry nowadays. It is an international competition which actively involves forestry institutions from about ten countries in Europe.

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